The Secretary-General report to the Security Council, dated 15 November 2013 (S/2013/677), on the Central African Republic was issued pursuant to paragraph 22 of resolution 2121 (2013).
The report covered four major areas, including the findings of the assessment mission; planning of the African-led International Support Mission in CAR and options for international support; and concluded with the Secretary-General’s observations. It presented the findings of the assessment mission deployed to CAR from 27 October to 8 November 2013 and offered options for international support to the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA), including the possible option for transforming MISCA into a United Nations Peacekeeping operation. The report confirmed previous findings presented to the Council on 16 September 2013 (S/2013/557) but also noted a significant deterioration in the security situation, in particular with regards to inter-communal violence, as well as unanimous called for urgent action in the political, security, humanitarian and human rights areas. With regards to women, peace and security, the report noted that women and children continue to be particularly affected by widespread violations, including sexual violence; stated that a UN peacekeeping mission would, inter alia, promote the protection from conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence; and identified training on the prevention of sexual violence as a logistical gap in MICOPAX (the Mission for the consolidation of peace in the Central African Republic) in its current formation. Aspects of the report neglecting a gender component included with respect to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); the humanitarian situation and displacement; the troop composition of MISCA; resource mobilization; and the Secretary-General’s discussion of options for international support to MISCA.
Women, peace and security concerns were addressed on three occasions in the report. Specifically, the report noted that the assessment mission heard testimonies of widespread violations against civilians, with sexual and gender-based violence affecting women and children, in particular, with absolute impunity (paras. 10; 52). In his discussion of possible options for international support to MISCA, the Secretary-General stated that a UN peacekeeping operation could, inter alia, promote and protect human rights, including protection from conflict-related sexual violence (para. 41). Although not evident in the report, it was essential that gender considerations be mainstreamed as a cross-cutting issue throughout the work of an international presence in CAR. Finally, the report made reference to the joint African-Union-ECCAS evaluation of MICOPAX support capacity assessing the current capabilities of the force and identifying gaps, which included pre-deployment and in-theatre training for troops and police for, among others things, the prevention of sexual violence.
The references to women, peace and security notwithstanding, there were a number of missed opportunities to address gender issues in the report. Specifically, the report did not include a gender perspective with regards to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); the humanitarian situation and humanitarian access, particularly with regard to internal displacement; the flow of small arms and light weapons, including cross-border; the make-up and composition of MICOPAX and MISCA, including the military, police and civilian components; operational planning, including the finalization of the concept for operations for MISCA; resource mobilization and allocation; as well as the Secretary-General’s discussion of possible options for international support, including bilateral and multilateral support, the establishment of a UN trust fund; limited UN support through assessed and voluntary contributions, comprehensive UN support package through assessed contributions; and a possible transformation of MISCA into a UN peacekeeping operation.
In relation to the November 2013 MAP, it was unfortunate that the report did not address certain key women, peace and security recommendations. In particular, the report did not mention the need to ensure the deployment of and adequate resourcing for Gender Advisers, Women Protection Advisers (WPA) as well as Child Protection Advisers; the need to ensure women’s full and effective participation of women in all peacebuilding efforts, including peace processes and future elections in the country; as well as ensuring gender-equitable and gender-sensitive justice and accountability mechanisms for atrocities committed by armed groups in the country.
This report was submitted pursuant to SCR 2121 (2013) and therefore did not have a direct predecessor for comparison and the focus of this report on the current deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation differs substantially from previous reports updating on the progress of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA) (S/2012/923). The previous report on BINUCA addressed a number of women, peace and security issues, focusing on efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, including the visit of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict to the country and BINUCA’s technical support to national authorities including on SGBV.
Security Council 7069th meeting on 25 November 2013 (S/PV.7069) focused on the situation in the Central African Republic.
The Security Council met on 25 November 2013 to discuss the situation in the Central African Republic as well as the recent Report of the Secretary-General on the Central African Republic pursuant to paragraph 22 of resolution 2121 (2013) (S/2013/677). The Council was briefed by the Deputy Secretary-General and also heard statements from the African Union, the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and CAR. Key issues discussed in the meeting included the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation; the urgent need for international and regional action to address the situation and discussed options thereof, including the possibility of MISCA transforming into a UN peacekeeping mission; prospective elections; security sector reform (SSR); resource mobilization; and humanitarian assistance. Overall, women, peace and security concerns were not consistently referenced in the meeting, usually specifically mentioned with regards to sexual violence. Despite this, it is worth noting that speakers used especially stark language in the meeting conveying the severity and urgency of the situation to Council members.
References to women, peace and security were made on three occasions in the meeting, focusing primarily on protection concerns, and sexual violence specifically. In particular, two references were made to sexual violence in conflict and one reference was made to the deployment of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, as well as the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict.
There were a number of missed opportunities to address women, peace and security concerns in the meeting. In particular, missed opportunities included with respect to the gender dimensions of the humanitarian situation beyond sexual violence; international and regional efforts to address the situation; resource mobilization and humanitarian assistance, access and delivery; as well as the planning of prospective elections as part of the transition period. As a whole, it is essential that gender be mainstreamed as a cross-cutting issue throughout the planning and implementation of an international response. Similarly, and in line with women, peace and security obligations, women, including women’s civil society organizations, must be represented at all levels and in all stages of the transition period, including, if not especially, politically.
The November 2013 NGOWG MAP recommendations called for, among others, the effective monitoring, investigating and reporting of human rights abuses, including sexual violence against women and girls. This was reflected to some extent, however, the Council should have ensured that sufficient resources were raised and allocated for the deployment of Gender Advisers, Women Protection Advisers as well as Child Protection Advisers to ensure not only women’s protection concerns are illuminated and addressed, but also to ensure women’s full participation in peace and reconciliation efforts. It was also unfortunate that the speakers did not adopt a gender perspective with regards to humanitarian assistance, access and delivery across conflict-affected areas of the country.
In comparison to the previous Security Council meeting discussing CAR, held on 10 October 2013 (S/PV.7042), this present meeting represented a slight improvement in references to women, peace and security concerns. In the previous meeting, a number of references were made to civilian men, women and children but only two references were made to women and children and the particular vulnerabilities they face.